Victory proves elusive for Chieftains
Coach praises first-half performance in 49-6 loss to Santa Fe Trail
Once again, the third quarter killed the Tonganoxie football team.
After playing a solid first half and trailing by only two touchdowns at halftime, the Chieftains saw another game slip away as Santa Fe Trail scored three touchdowns in the third quarter.
Steve Hughes, Tonganoxie football coach, had a long talk with the team in the north end zone after the game, which Tonganoxie lost, 49-6.
"We played well the first half," Hughes said. "We've just got to put the total game together."
There were some encouraging signs for the Chieftains.
Except for a 70-yard touchdown run by Chargers' back Brian Mott in the first quarter and a sustained drive in the second quarter, the defense stopped Santa Fe Trail in the first half.
In fact, the Chargers punted three times in the first half.
Another drive ended when Neil Rieger stepped in front of the receiver in the flat and intercepted the ball.
Jimmy Walker, on a third down play from the Tonganoxie 12-yard line, pressured the Santa Fe Trail quarterback, sacking him and knocking the ball loose. Tony Miller recovered his third fumble of the season.
But on offense, the Chieftains continued to struggle.
They drove from the Chargers' 46 to the 12 before a two-yard loss on an option and an interception ended the drive.
The missed touchdown opportunity could have changed the game, Hughes said.
"We should have had a couple in the first half," Hughes said. "We just didn't capitalize on them."
In the second half, the Chargers dominated.
Good punt returns and an interception gave Santa Fe Trail possession on the Tonganoxie 17, 18 and 29 yard lines, and each of those possessions ended with a Charger touchdown.
The Chargers ran for 387 yards to the Chieftains' 100 yards most of which came on the last three drives of the game.
The Chieftains did score late in the game. They recovered a Charger fumble at the Santa Fe Trail 31 on a bobbled punt.
Joseph Sledd carried the ball four times. The big carries of the drive were a 28-yard run to the three-yard line on fourth and 10 and a touchdown carry of three yards.
John Barnes Jr., Tonganoxie quarterback, was stopped short of the goal line on the two-point conversion attempt.
Immaculata is Tonganoxie's next opponent.
"We feel we can play with them," Hughes said.
To do so, the Chieftains will have to stop Ahmad Ashkar. He ran for 176 yards and five touchdowns in a 41-21 win against Lansing Friday.
Tonganoxie plays at Immaculata at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.